Self determination or preordained destiny?
Do we have free will? Or are we manipulated by some cosmic force? Can we be individuals free from control by events and other people? Or are our lives so intermingled and so woven into the vast sticky web of life itself, that we can not escape?
We all have the ability to think and thoughts have a power, especially when powered by emotion. How much we are influenced by the thoughts of others is debatable and probably varies from individual to individual. We read the written down part of people's thoughts, you are reading this and it is the corrected and edited version of the jumble of ideas that flow through my mind. We listen to other people in conversations or on the media. In conversation there is no script or editing but TV and radio shows are very carefully edited and what you hear is a controlled version of what was said. Is there some omnipotent power the directs the editing and so controls the destiny of both writer and reader? It does not feel that way but where did the thoughts, that I have, come from? Are they “sent from above” or are they the result of an unconscious, rational collecting and then appraisal, of everything that has occurred in my past 76 years of life? Would an artificial intelligent computer gather all my experiences, conversations, readings and lessons and then arrive at these same words?
There is a belief in “thought form clouds,” where thoughts gather and influence those with similar thoughts. This is why emotion driven thought can have a power of their own.
Modern society is so overcrowded and every action by any one of us has repercussions for so many other people, that being alone and free is impossible.
I may choose to go left or right when walking and this seemingly random event does not affect anyone else. Or does it? By going left I meet another person and we engage in conversation that imparts knowledge to one or both of us. If I had turned to my right, this conversation would not have taken place, ignorance would have continued. So my random choice involves purpose but is this a controlled purpose? If I gained knowledge and used this to further some aim of my own, or the aims of others, then I have to wonder if the meeting was part of a plan to help further those ambitions.
The big questions are, was the gestalt effect of having those ambitions and the generating of thought forms about those ambitions, the cause of my turning left or is this pure chance, or a great controller of destiny working us all as puppets.
As a child I wanted so much to join the Royal Air Force and learn to fly, I was about 12 years old when it was discovered I had defective colour vision and this ruled out being a pilot. Is this genetic aspect of my physical body a part of some grand plan for my life or just an accident of birth?
As a young man, recently married with a son, I applied for a wonderful job in another country. I ended up as second choice for the position, with the difference between myself and the first choice so minimal; the company wrote and advised me that if their first choice failed to accept the job, it would be mine. Consider how different my life, the life of my then wife, and that of my children, would have been, if I had won the position. Then the chosen partners of my children, would have also been different, since they grew up in another country. My subsequent life and interaction with other people would have been changed. The relationships my then wife formed would also have been different, in fact so many lives would have been different if I had been picked for that job. I am certain that there have been many other “turning points” some large, most small, so many that I can not remember all of them yet all have changed life for myself and all those I subsequently interact with. So how much are we in control of our own destiny?
Since I started to write down these thoughts, the world has turned, it is turning still and it will keep turning, we can not alter that. Time and life flows ever onward but is that to some required destination or is it it a vast interwoven circle? Most of the physical world follows cyclical pattern. Birth, growth, maturity, stagnation and death. The cycle may be slow and vast, for example a mountain range, or very short and fast, for example a mayfly. They all follow a cycle and end up starting again.
Since I chose to sit at this keyboard and type the words that flow into my mind, there as been time for other choices to have been made. If I had gone for a walk, spent time scrolling through Facebook or reading a novel, then the future will be different from the path I seem to be on. I could erase the words typed so far, get up and go for that walk but the time I have spent on typing, will have changed who I meet on that walk. It will have changed the future.
The more people there are on this earth, the more complex every single life gets. Some one on a remote island, where the way of life does not seem to ever change, is still caught up in the mesh of complexities caused by the billions of interactions between billions of other people. Somewhere in the mesh is a photographer looking for an assignment and they will pick on the remote island, this will change every aspect of life on that island for ever.
So it is a workable hypothesis that we are not controlled by an exterior force, nor do we have unqualified free will. What we have is a universal collective where every person is influenced by every other person. Because of the vast numbers of people, with so many differing views, this is a recipe for confusion. It is just possible that when humanoids became, Homo Sapient, they did so because they had a collective mind that was stronger than the rivals for dominance. The numbers being so much smaller then, means less confusion and more unity of thought and so influence. The population is now such that this disconnectedness of thought is causing a cancellation of a clear collective objective.
None of this rules out an ethereal power, can be “cosmic” or rooted in Gaia, it can be the universal creator, that could be called God. Even if our thoughts and actions are influenced by the thoughts and actions of other humans, this may just be the mechanism, by which the ethereal power operates.